"ScreenPlay" is the first collection of essays devoted to exploring the relationship between cinema and video games. It attempts to introduce the field of video game studies while also increasing our understanding of the two artforms. Although not all of the essays are models of clear thinking on the subject, the volume will be a valuable resource for those working in film, philosophy, new media, and video game studies. Geoff King and Tanya Krzywinska have brought together a diverse collection (...) of essays where the productive approaches stand out clearly. As a result, one of the most important achievements of the volume is that it allows us to compare methodologies in order to see the kinds of research programs that add the most to our understanding of moving pictures. (shrink)
Proposes a shift in thinking about the connection of Malick's filmmaking and the philosophy of Heidegger. My approach considers Heidegger's philosophy of art in order to develop some outlines of a Heideggerian philosophy of film. I also consider some aspects of Terrence Malick's films viewed as exemplar instances of the philosophical theory of film Heidegger's work can support.
Theory appears to have played the ideological-institutional role of enfranchiser, even if the role was ulti-mately an epiphenomenal one. Furthermore, the expectation of gold in "them thar hills" also encouraged too many university presses to invest in film publications, especially when the arcane peregrinations of Theory facilitated their rationalization of their relaxation of their traditional role as academic gatekeepers. Hence film studies has been flooded with repetitive decoctions of the Theory in search of the same market in much (...) the same way that con-sumers are confronted with so many marginally differentiated shampoos. (shrink)
Held on Monday 12th October 2009, 5.30 - 7.00 pm, University of St Andrews, Scotland. Participants Dr Robert Sinnerbrink (Philosophy, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia) Dr John Mullarkey (Philosophy, University of Dundee) Professor Berys Gaut (Philosophy, University of St Andrews) Dr David Martin-Jones (Film Studies, University of St Andrews) Dr William Brown (Film Studies, University of St Andrews)Over the course of at least the last hundred years the intellectual study of cinema has experienced a number of shifts towards and (...) away from theoretical or philosophical attempts to understand the moving image. The twenty-first century sees film-philosophy resurgent, in part due to the interest in cinema that has flourished recently in disciplines like philosophy, and in part due to the interdisciplinary nature of Film Studies. At a time when it is increasingly in vogue to return to theoretical questions previously pushed off the agenda by the dominance of historical approaches to cinema, such as the perennial "What is Cinema?", we are taking this opportunity to ask, "What is Film-Philosophy?" In a context that is witnessing the rise of digital cinema, the global dominance of multi-national media conglomerates, and the worldwide spread of "world cinemas", what role does theory or philosophy play in helping us understand cinema, and indeed, what role can cinema play in transforming philosophy? [The audio recording is of variable quality as we have had to remove a lot of background hiss and static. Please accept our apologies] Thanks to Rachel Brewster at Liverpool John Moores University for extracting the original audio. (shrink)
The primary aim of this article is to point up an essential attitude, an anxiety even, that has inflected – and perhaps inhibited - our engagement with film. Film theory has been marked by a ‘refusal to see, a looking away’ (Mulvey & Wollen 1976, 36), and my suggestion is that this has achieved its fullest expression in those strands of film theory heavily influenced by psychoanalysis. These, in turn, have remained within a gendered conceptual framework whereby (...) the discursive or the narrative is associated with the masculine, and the image or spectacle is aligned with the feminine. This is not to reject these applications out of hand but rather to revisit this area with its blind spots in mind and to consider aspects that are perhaps at once obvious but often overlooked. (shrink)
Many films are made by a two-tier process: the photographing of events which themselves represent the story the film tells. The latter representation is often illusionistic. I explore two consequences. The first concerns what we see in film. I argue that we sometimes see in such films, not events representing the story told, but simply the events composing that story. The way is thereby opened to a unified aesthetic of film, whether made the two-tier way or not. (...) The second consequence is that, since we see these films as photographic, we sometimes experience them as photographic recordings of the events, possibly fictional, that compose the story told. (shrink)
At the Intersection of High and Mass Culture analyses the contradictions and interaction between high and low art, with particular reference to Hollywood and European cinema. Written in the essayist, speculative tradition of Walter Benjamin and Theodore Adorno, this study also includes analyses of several key films of the 1980s. Tracing the boundaries of such genres as film noir, science fiction and melodrama, it demonstrates how these genres were radically expanded by such filmmakers as Neil Jordan, Chris Merker and (...) Georges Franju. This work also reflects on kitsch, the star system, racial and gender stereotypes, and the nature of audience participation. While defining the conditions under which the symbiotic relationship between high and mass culture can be cross-fertilising, this study stresses their inevitably contradictory characteristics. (shrink)
The film The Insider offers an interesting story of leaking inside information by one character and clear whistleblowing by another. In both cases moral considerations are involved on a personal, professional, organizational and public level. As such the film can be used as an inviting cinematic introduction to applied or practical ethics. Three models of practical ethics are introduced. In the film workshop these models are the framework for the film analysis. A set up of the (...) workshop is sketched, including selected scenes, basic questions and a timetable. Also a sketch is given of the results that can be expected. (shrink)
Marguerite Clark as Topsy in Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1918). Charlton Heston as Ramon Miguel Vargas in Touch of Evil (1958). Mizuo Peck as Sacagawea in Night at the Museum (2006). From the early days of cinema to its classic-era through to the contemporary Hollywood age, the history of cinema is replete with films in which the racial (or ethnic) background of a principal character does not match the background of the actor or actress portraying that character. I call this actor-character (...) race-mismatching. In this paper, I mainly explore whether a coherent and plausible account can be given of race-matching in terms of purely aesthetic considerations, i.e., an account that absent moral considerations can nevertheless coherently and productively answer the following questions: can race-mismatching itself ever be an aesthetic defect of a film, and if so, under what conditions can race-mismatching be such an aesthetic defect. I claim that once we have in place a precise account of the nature of race-matching, it becomes clear that films for which race-mismatching appears to constitute an aesthetic defect are actually films with which properly engaging requires audiences to satisfy inconsistent epistemic conditions. In such cases, I claim, race mismatching constitutes an aesthetic defect for the film-fiction because—in virtue of the inconsistency underwritten by the race-mismatching—that film-fiction undermines the very uptake it prescribes. I then argue that if what’s defective about race-mismatching aesthetically is predicated on something being defective about race-mismatching epistemically, then if there is nothing in principle defective about race-mismatching epistemically, then so too for mismatching aesthetically (and so too for mismatching morally). From this I conclude that reasons stemming only from race-matching/mismatching itself lack the normative force sufficient to warrant the claim that film-fictions ought not race-mismatch. (shrink)
Philosophy, and in particular continental philosophy, has provided a conceptual underpinning for cinema since its beginnings, especially in the development of cinematic aesthetics. In its turn, film has rethought the abstractions of space and time and the categories of sex and gender and has created new concepts which illuminate phenomenology, metaphysics and epistemology. -/- Film, Theory and Philosophy brings together leading scholars to provide a detailed overview of the key thinkers who have shaped the field of film (...) philosophy. The thinkers include continental philosophers, “post-continental” philosophers, analytic philosophers, film-makers, film reviewers, sociologists, and cultural theorists. The essays reveal how philosophy can be applied to film analysis and how film can be used to illustrate philosophical problems. But more importantly, the essays explore how film has shaped what philosophy thinks and how philosophy has lead to a reappraisal of film. The book will prove an invaluable reference and guide to readers interested in a deeper understanding of the issues and insights presented by film philosophy. (shrink)
Filmmakers use continuity editing to engender a sense of situational continuity or discontinuity at editing boundaries. The goal of this study was to assess the impact of continuity editing on how people perceive the structure of events in a narrative film and to identify brain networks that are associated with the processing of different types of continuity editing boundaries. Participants viewed a commercially produced film and segmented it into meaningful events, while brain activity was recorded with functional magnetic (...) resonance imaging (MRI). We identified three degrees of continuity that can occur at editing locations: edits that are continuous in space, time, and action; edits that are discontinuous in space or time but continuous in action; and edits that are discontinuous in action as well as space or time. Discontinuities in action had the biggest impact on behavioral event segmentation, and discontinuities in space and time had minor effects. Edits were associated with large transient increases in early visual areas. Spatial-temporal changes and action changes produced strikingly different patterns of transient change, and they provided evidence that specialized mechanisms in higher order perceptual processing regions are engaged to maintain continuity of action in the face of spatiotemporal discontinuities. These results suggest that commercial film editing is shaped to support the comprehension of meaningful events that bridge breaks in low-level visual continuity, and even breaks in continuity of spatial and temporal location. (shrink)
Philosophy of Film: A Contemporary Introduction (Routledge) provides a critical overview of the literature on eleven different issues in the philosophy of film, from "What is Film?" to "Can Film Do Philosophy?" It aims to provide an objective overview of the principal arguments on each side of the issues. The set of issues includes all of the most important topics as well as some that are less well represented in the discipline, such as whether the power (...) of cinema derives from its similarity to dreams. (shrink)
I argue that Dilworth has not shown the type / token theory of film identity to be non-viable, since there is no reason to think that a single object cannot be a token of two types. Even if we assume a single inheritance view of types, Dilworth's argument runs into other problems. Dilworth does not provide any convincing argument as to why intentions are necessary for identifying film and why production history alone will not suffice for identifying hardly (...) conceivable forgeries. Intention is not necessary for distinguishing between fakes and the real thing, nor is it necessary to differentiate between two artworks with the same token. Moreover, taking the notion of intentions into consideration leads to a splintering problem. I propose that production history, presentation, and non-numerical template identity suffice to identify a film on a multiple inheritance type / token theory. (shrink)
This book is an easy-to-read, fun and provocative discussion of how to understand, appreciate, and evaluate film. Written by professor and film guru Michael Gose, the book is loved by students and moviegoers alike.
Because of their relative autonomy from the cultural industry, German films of the Twenties are an interesting field to try an analysis on the psychologic attitudes of a society or an age. The themes of films from this era will be examined in this essay: the frequent representation of tragic stories, the role of repression, wich the film has, the construction of monumental atmospheres. The cardinal skill of this work is in facts to show how films affected everyone´s aesthetic (...) reception at those time, as it liquidates every association with the past and prepares an apperception, that has been useful for authoritarian systems. (shrink)
Our aim is to point out some differences between verbal and visual arguments, promoting the rhetorical perspective of argumentation beyond the relevance of logic and pragmatics. In our view, if it is to be rational and successful, film as (visual) argumentation must be addressed to spectators who hold informed beliefs about the theme watched on the screen and the medium’s constraints and conventions. In our reflections to follow, we apply rhetorical analysis to film as a symbolic, human, and (...) communicative act that may sometimes be understood as a visually laid out argument. As a mixture of visual, auditory, and verbal stimuli, film demands active and complex interpretation and (re)construction. Our suggestion is to focus on five different but interrelated elements. The reconstruction and evaluation of the visual argument will be based on those elements, and the whole process will be one of visual argumentation. (shrink)
Introduction -- An improbable alliance : Peter Wollen's "The auteur theory" -- Visual stylometry : Barry Salt's "Statistical style analysis of motion pictures" -- Between Shakespeare and Sirk : Thomas Elsaesser's "Tales of sound and fury: observations on the family melodrama" -- From iconicity to semiotic articulation : Christian Metz's "cinema: language or language system?" and language and cinema -- Film as a specific signifying practice : Stephen Heath's "On screen, in frame: film and ideology" -- Against theories (...) of reflection : Laura Mulvey's "Visual pleasure and narrative cinema" -- Early cinema spectatorship : Tom Gunning's "The cinema of attraction(s): early film, its spectator, and the avant-garde" -- Another Lacan : "the universal: suture revisited" -- The death of the camera : Edward Branigan's "What is a camera?" -- Conclusion: teaching theory. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: -- PART I: CRITICAL PRACTICE -- The Critical Practice of Film -- PART II: FILM FORM -- Narrative Film -- Documentary Film -- PART III: TECHNIQUES OF FILM -- Cinematography -- Mise-en-Scène -- Sound -- Editing -- Music -- PART IV: ANALYSIS AND CRITICAL PRACTICE -- Interpretation and Analysis of Film -- Critical Practice in Action.
Idiosyncratic responses as more strictly personal responses to fiction film that vary across individual spectators. In philosophy of film, idiosyncratic responses are often deemed inappropriate, unwarranted and unintended by the film. One type of idiosyncratic response is when empathy with a character triggers the spectator to reflect on his own real life issues. Self-reflection can be triggered by egoistic drift, where the spectator starts imagining himself in the character’s shoes, by re-experiencing memories, or by unfamiliar experiences that (...) draw the spectator’s attention. Film may facilitate self-reflection by slowing down narrative development and making the narrative indeterminate. Such scenes make idiosyncratic responses, such as self-reflection, appropriate and intended. Fiction film is a safe context for the spectator to reflect on personal issues, as it also affords him with distancing techniques if the reflection becomes too painful or unwanted. The fictional context further encourages self-reflection in response to empathy, as the spectator is relieved from real life moral obligations to help the other. (shrink)
Introduction -- The dialectic's narrow margin: film noir between Adorno and Hegel -- On critical theory's dialectical dilemma -- a configuration pregnant with tension: Fritz Lang for critical theory -- Coda: the enjoyment of film in theory.
I argue for a position close to what Paisley Livingston calls the bold thesis of cinema as philosophy. The bold thesis I defend is that films can make innovative, independent philosophical contributions by paradigmatic cinematic means. I clarify the thesis before presenting what Livingston thinks is a fatal problem for any similar position—the problem of paraphrase. As an example in defense of the bold thesis, I offer the "For God and Country" sequence in Sergei Eisenstein’s October (1928). I argue that (...) this scene offers an analogical argument similar in form to what some think Nietzsche presents in the Genealogy of Morality. Moreover, I argue that the argument presented in October is independent, could have been innovative, and is presented via the paradigmatic cinematic means of montage. (shrink)
This collection of original essays, written by scholars from disciplines across the humanities, addresses a wide range of questions about love through a focus on individual films, novels, plays, and works of philosophy. The essays touch on many varieties of love, including friendship, romantic love, parental love, and even the love of an author for her characters. How do social forces shape the types of love that can flourish and sustain themselves? What is the relationship between love and passion? Is (...) love between human and nonhuman animals possible? What is the role of projection in love? These questions and more are explored through an investigation of works by authors ranging from Henrik Ibsen to Ian McEwan, from Rousseau to the Coen Brothers. (shrink)
Movies tell stories. Thrilling are especially those situations, when people have to make ethical decisions. Issues of medical ethics crop up not only in hospital series, but often in genres where this subject is hardly to be supposed: comedies, westerns, love stories and gangster movies. Enacting these conflicts means offering a solution, and in doing so films refer to moral values and – at the same time – function as seismographs for the social relevance of bioethical topics. But it is (...) possible that ethical principles of good decision-making fall victims to the drama of the story. Analysis of the portrayed conflict is similar to a case discussion in bioethics and represents a helpful adjunct to the procurement of analytical and communicative competences. (shrink)
Can some films be genuine thought experiments that challenge our commonsense intuitions? Certain filmic narratives and their mise-en-scène details reveal rigorous reasoning and counterintuitive outcomes on philosophical issues, such as skepticism or personal identity. But this philosophical façade may hide a mundane concern for entertainment. Unfamiliar narratives drive spectator entertainment, and every novel cinematic situation could be easily explained as part of a process that lacks motives of philosophical elucidation. -/- The paper inverses the above objection, and proposes that when (...) the main cinematic character resists spectator engagement (a crucial source of cinematic entertainment), emotionally challenged spectators also question their commonsensical beliefs about his/her actions, and detect a conceptually novel situation as such. -/- A case study is Mike Leigh’s film Happy-Go-Lucky (2008), in which the main female character presents an unrelenting but eccentric version of 'feel good' happiness. Spectators gradually detect that the previously unexamined, commonsensical version of subjective happiness comes at the price of individual eccentricity, and that the choice of a subjective theory of happiness leads to consequences hitherto unacknowledged. (shrink)
In 2002, a remake of the 1975 film Rollerball was released in theaters. It flopped at the box-office, disappearing quickly from movie screens and reappearing shortly thereafter on home video. While aesthetically horrendous, the remake of Rollerball is instructive, as it provides a point of contrast to the original film, highlighting a change in our culture’s manner of engagement with the difficult philosophical problem of nihilism. Both films share a roughly similar plot, yet in the differing manners that (...) they explore and develop that plot, we can glimpse two separate ways in which nihilism may be discovered, confronted and dealt with. (shrink)
Introduction -- Trapped by oneself in Jacques Tourneur's Out of the past -- "A deliberate, intentional fool" in Orson Welles's The lady from Shanghai -- Sexual agency in Fritz Lang's Scarlet Street -- "Why didn't you shoot again, baby?": concluding remarks.
This article reassesses the concept of identification in line with the increased importance phenomenology has taken on in film-philosophy of the 1990s and 2000s. In the 1970s and 1980s, a Lacanian psychoanalytic interpretation of identification dominated film theory and criticism, and spectatorial engagement with elements of films was understood as what psychoanalysis calls secondary identification – the identification with stable subject-positions (characters) in the film-text. But non-Lacanian psychoanalysis and Merleau-Ponty’s existential phenomenology offer film-philosophy a very different (...) understanding of identification as a non image-based, ‘blind’, bodily affective tie that is established between spectators and what Vivian Sobchack describes as ‘the sense and sensibility of materiality itself’ (Sobchack 2004, 65). By first exploring how this more bodily (for psychoanalysis, primary ) identification is theorized by psychoanalysts (Freud, Paul Schilder, Henri Wallon) and by film theorists (Kaja Silverman), the article proposes that film criticism make greater use of it in order to engage more meaningfully with the visible cultural specificities – size, skin colour, age, sex – of the images of bodies viewed on cinema screens. It is not just ‘the’ body that needs bringing back into thinking about film spectatorship, but culturally differentiated bodies , both on the screen and in the auditorium. A psychoanalytic and phenomenological film criticism of embodied cultural identity, one that attends to the materiality of the film and of the body-images and objects on the screen, may be the most culturally and politically useful successor to ‘screen’ theory of the 1970s and 1980s. (shrink)
_Film Style and Story: A Tribute to Torben Grodal_ Edited by Lennard Hojbjerg and Peter Schepelern Copenhagen, Denmark: Museum Tusculanum Press, University of Copenhagen, 2003) ISBN 87-7289-851-8 252 pp.